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Summary: Leading up to the crucifixion and death of Christ on the cross is perhaps one of the most important events to study in the Christian faith. But ... even with this knowledge, Sunday is STILL coming!

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Preparing for Easter

Luke 23:44-56

Introduction

- Up to this point, we’ve seen several key events that surround this sacred time

-- We’ve seen our Lord and Savior fulfill Zec 9:9 and ride into Jerusalem

-- We’ve seen one of the 12 betray Him for 30 pieces of silver; the wage of a slave

-- We’ve also recounted the beating that Jesus took for our sins; to be free

- But, even after all of that – both the worst (and the best) is yet to come

- George Bernard penned it best in 1913:

On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross; the emblem of suffering and shame

And I love that old cross, where the dearest & best; for a world of lost sinners was slain

So I’ll cherish, the old rugged cross

Till my trophies at last I lay down

I will cling to the old rugged cross

And exchange it someday for a crown

- Jesus was nailed to a cross in a savage manner, placing Him on display for all

- The crucifixion was the same as that of a common criminal, and just as routine

- There was no mercy; nor any justice that mankind delivered that day

- But, from the beginning of time … the justice of God was being carried out

- This justice was so that all of us could be free – if we accepted His sacrifice

- Stand and read Luke 23:44-56 / Pray

Point 1 – The Death of a Savior (44-49)

- For six hours the King of Kings hung in total display for all to see

- The Bible records in differing ways that He was stripped of His clothes

- And that those who removed His clothes were tossing dice to see who gets it

- This was not a matter of dying honorably; it was the death of thieves

- Consider for a moment being his friend; or even His family (Mary was there)

- To watch this man hang cruelly for hours and hours is the worst torture

- There is nothing that can compare to this; Jesus was put on display for all

- Then, with the wave of a wand the sun stopped shining; time stood still

- The curtain which separated the holy of holies was ripped in two

- And the Messiah promised for all died rejected; despised; and alone

- His final words were ones of compassion, and utter respect and devotion

-- “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

- As if to say; I have done what you’ve asked – and now I’m ready to return to you

- Can you imagine the incredible amount of obedience Jesus had at this moment?

- This was perhaps one of the most underrated events surrounding His death

- He died because of the sins we committed; and He still communes with God

- Still He is faithful to speak with His Father; the same one He asked to not leave

- APP: For us, there is incredible strength here: No matter the issue, God is there

- It does not matter what we are seeing or dealing with; God cares about you too

- Even a roman centurion (guard) who was standing by was convinced who He is

- Why? Because of the light show? Because of the temple cloth? An earthquake?

- No, because in His heart (spirit) He knew who had just died on that cross

- That cross that perhaps he helped put him on; he realized the righteousness

- And all those who were there beat their chests as if they were saddened

- But notice; after they did so they left; and the followers watched at a distance

- TRANS: But, now comes the most difficult task for those who loved him

Point 2 – The Burial of a King (50-56)

- Joseph was a man who had come believing He would see the Kingdom of God

- He came as a man convinced that the Messiah was coming; and so he went

- APP: It is amazing when you consider that simple concept of obedience

- If Jesus were coming here on Sunday, I bet we’d clear our calendars and be here

- Joseph was willing to go against the entire religious order

-- Let’s remember, he’s a member of the council that desired the arrest/execution

-- It is because of his faithfulness in the Lord that he asks for the body of Jesus

- To be buried in a tomb that had already been occupied was considered shameful

- It is no different than digging up a grave and adding another body to it

- The importance was to honor Jewish tradition & have Him buried before Sabbath

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